ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Right-hander Mark DiFelice turned in an outstanding outing in his 2008 debut and four Nashville home runs lifted the Sounds to a 13-3 victory over the Albuquerque Isotopes on Tuesday afternoon at Isotopes Park in the finale of a four-game series.
With its largest win of the season, Nashville (4-15) snapped a four-game skid and avoided a series sweep.
DiFelice (1-0) made his first start of the season after missing the first three weeks while recovering from off-season knee surgery. He got off to a solid start, facing the minimum 15 batters through the first five innings, including eight strikeouts. The lone batter to record a hit over that span, Paul Hoover, was caught stealing by catcher Vinny Rottino.
He departed after six innings due to a planned pitch count, allowing one run on three hits and fanning 11 batters over six innings of work while throwing 78 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Seven Sounds batters produced a multiple-hit effort on the afternoon, led by three-hit days from Hernan Iribarren and Tony Gwynn. Gwynn went 3-for-4 with one run scored in his fourth rehab contest for the Sounds and batted .538 (7-for-13) in the series.
The 13 runs were the most scored by the Sounds since they plated 14 last May 1 at Iowa.
Nashville grabbed an early lead for the fourth time in the series when Rottino belted a two-out, three-run homer off Isotopes starter Gaby Hernandez. The blast, which scored Gwynn (single) and Joe Dillon (double), was the backstop’s third of the season.
The Sounds extended the lead to 5-0 in the third on another longball, a two-run Dillon shot to deep left. It was the veteran’s first homer of the year in his second game with Nashville. Iribarren, who opened the frame with a single, also scored on the longball.
Right fielder Brendan Katin upped the advantage to 6-0 in the fourth when he belted his first career Triple-A home run off the scoreboard in left-center field.
After joining the entire Pacific Coast League for an off day on Wednesday, the Sounds continue their road trip on Thursday evening in Omaha, where they’ll take on the division-rival Royals in the 6:35 p.m. CT opener of a four-game series.
Right-hander Nic Ungs (1-2, 10.32) will attempt to rebound from a shaky outing in Albuquerque when he mans the bump for the Sounds to face Omaha left-hander Tyler Lumsden (1-1, 6.39), who defeated Nashville last week at Greer Stadium.